How to finish wheel walk in control (Closed for comments)
Comments about this discussion:
In 2B.6.15 it is stated that a rider must cross the finish "in control". This is defined for the moment when the rearmost part of the wheel crosses the finish line.
Now for a wheel walk race, "control" is defined as the rider having at least one foot on the wheel. Maybe this rule originates from old times. These days, races are wheel running rather than wheel walking, by which I mean that each foot touches and pushes the tyre only a short while, and in between those pushes are (also brief) periods of coasting, if you will. It may therefore well be that no foot touches the tyre at the relevant finish moment, which is in my opinion no ground for DQ. This may be hard to judge by the naked eye, but can be checked with finish video.
We need a better "in control" rule for ww, especially since in wheel walk races many falls occur near the finish line. I think "in control" for wheel walk should be defined without referring to a foot on the wheel. An alternative definition is being seated on the saddle, with the unicycle being upright (well, as upright as it normally is during ww).
I agree with your assertion, Klass, that the definition is too specific for the current level of wheel walk racers. It was probably written at a time when even the idea of "wheel running" wasn't yet conceived. The difficulty lies in defining "in control" while also ruling out gliding and coasting. Perhaps some mention of "consistent with the motion of wheel walking" but even that is subjective.
Do we really need to have a rule that says the rider must cross the finish line in control? What would happen if we say the rearmost part of the wheel has to bee behind the finish line before the rider is allowed to dismount?
Good point. It's not like the rider must reconnect with the pedals after the finish line. Perhaps for wheel walk the definition of "in control" is more about where the wheel is and less about where the riders feet are, so long as they conform to the requirements of wheel walking during the race.
@ Jan V: that would then depend on how you define dismount. In regular races with two feet on the pedals, both feet have to stay on the pedals until the wheel is completely past the finish line. It would not be in control to have one or both feet off the pedals even if your feet haven't touched the ground yet. So it would be more lenient (and, in comparison with a regular race, too lenient) to say that the feet of a wheel walk racer may only touch the ground after the wheel is past the finish line. So, what is "dismount" for a wheel walker?
Yeah, I know what "in control" means up to now in regular races… but do we really need that rule? What would happen if we would change that to "If a rider dismounts before the rearmost part of the wheel has crossed completely over the finish line he will be disqualified" (except Dismounting is allowed - than: back up, remount and ride across the finish line again, as today) Where are the advantages (for riders?/hosts?/timers?) of the rule we have today?
The advantage of the current rule is that is is precisely defined what is allowed and what not. In your suggestion, you do describe the decisive moment precisely (the rearmost part of the wheel crossing the finish line). But dismounting is an action that takes a finite amount of time. In the case of a fall it might go like this: one foot leaves pedal, other foot leaves pedal, unicycle leans forward, one foot touches ground, seat touches ground, other foot touches ground. Now suppose that at some point within such a chain of events, the rearmost part of the wheel crosses the finish line. In your suggestion, I wouldn't know if the rider would be DQ or not. In other words, your suggestion raises the question: when exactly do we consider a rider dismounted?
Yes that rule is out of date. It dates from a time when there were few enough "wheel runners" that there were never any of them in the same heat. :-)
I can think of two possible definitions, one more strict and one more easy:
1) Control is defined as the rider's feet being at or above the level of the top of the tire as the back of the wheel crosses the finish line
2) Control is defined as the rider's feet not touching the ground before the back of the wheel has crossed the finish line
I like #1 better, but perhaps it's a little too strict? It's the spirit of what we want; cruising all the way across the line, and it allows the riders to totally coast it. What do you think?
In #1 above, change "at or above" to "near or above". Technical-minded people will request a definition of "near" and we'll have to figure that out, but I'm just trying to give the idea of the feet still being up there.
Hmmm, with this rule (both #1 and #2) someone might be gliding or coasting while passing the finish line. Now that may well be "in control", but it isn't wheel walking and should be ruled out, I think.
I just thought of an alternative rule: state that the rider has to continue wheelwalking until the rearmost part of the wheel is past the finish line.
The current rule for regular one-foot or two-feet races could be reworded to "the rider has to continue pedalling until the rearmost part of the wheel is past the finish line". I think this would mean exactly the same as the current rule. So then the rule for regular races is not changed effectively, and the rule for wheel walk is consistent with it, and says what we want for wheel walking, in a way that is easy to understand. Judging may remain difficult.
This alternative rule comes very close to what Kenny mentioned in his first comment above.
One more thing related to the whole issue of 'finishing in control'.
Maybe I should start a separate discussion for this, but it seems to relate closely to this discussion.
For clarity, I'll give an example for a 100m race, not for wheelwalking.
According to the rules, the exact finish time is defined by the front edge of the tyre crossing (the rearmost part of) the finishline.
So once the front of the tyre has passed the line, the time is fixed, and the rider has finished.
He may have been in perfect control until that time, and it would be logical to state that he "has finished in control".
BUT if he then lifts off his foot from the pedal before the rear edge of the tyre is past the same finish line, then according to the rules we must consider it that he has NOT finished in control, after all.
I think that having two separate decisive moments is inconsistent. It should not matter whether the rider looses control after he has finished. So in my opinion both timing and "being in control" should be related to the same moment, i.e. the front edge of the tyre crossing the finish line.
Excellent point, Klaas. I agree those moments in time should be the same and consistent throughout the list of races.
My last point hasn't drawn a lot of responses. It is an important rule change though, as quite often riders fall near or at the finishline, but it is not really covered by the discussion title "How to finish wheel walk in control". Therefore, I will make a separate discussion on the exact time for which "in control" must be assessed.
@Klaas: "Hmmm, with this rule (both #1 and #2) someone might be gliding or coasting while passing the finish line."
You're right. But I think if we look at slow motion video of fast wheel walkers, we'll see lots of time where both feet are off the tire, yet they are not coasting. Technically I suppose it could be called coasting, but it's not a controlled coast, it's a gap in pushing during a wheel walk. The motion going up to the finish line has to be consistent with the definition of wheel walk, which I think says you can't glide or coast. That should be enough to work with my suggested #1 definition.
The wheelwalking action occurs not on top of the wheel but somewhat towards the front of the wheel, which is lower than the top. In addition, the feet usually push somewhat from the side to avoid collisions. Combined, that means that the feet are normally not really "at or above the level of the top of the tire", as in your rule #1.
Why not just state that the rider has to continue wheelwalking until the decisive moment? Granted, it may be a bit subjective as to what that exactly means, but this is inherent to the nature of wheelwalking which consist of various intermittent actions.
A proposal relating to this discussion is combined with discussion #64 "At which moment finishing in control must be assessed". Both these discussions refer to 2B.6.15, and a single integrated proposal covers both.